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Family and Medical Leave Act

Legislative Issue Update - January 2008

[added January 2008]

On December 12th and 14th, the House of Representatives and Senate respectively passed the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1585) conference report. The bill includes language to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for military families. FMLA-eligible employees (those working for employers with fewer than 50 employees) will now be entitled to:

Active duty leave: This benefit provides 12 weeks of FMLA leave due to a spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.

Caregiver leave: This benefit provides 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a single 12-month period for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service member. A recovering service member is defined as a member of the Armed Forces who suffered an injury or illness while on active-duty that may render the person unable to perform the duties of the memberís office, grade, rank or rating.

Regulations will need to be issued to fully implement this expansion of the FMLA, however, employers should consider these provisions effective immediately upon the Presidentís signing the defense authorization bill (pending as Staff Reports goes to press). In addition, several other bills to expand FMLA have been introduced.